The use of injectable transponders in cattle for identification purposes, for up to 30 months, was investigated. Passive electronic transponders, encapsulated in either polymer or glass, were injected subcutaneously into either the ear base or the earlobe of 652 calves in three populations. The animals were clinically examined weekly, and transponder signalling was checked immediately before and after injection, after two weeks and after about eight months. About 10 per cent of animals in one population were also checked after 20 and 30 months. No severe clinical or visible pathological changes were observed, and the calves' welfare was not apparently affected by the procedure. None of the transponders migrated from their injection sites. Eight months after injection, a signal was detected from 98.2 per cent of transponders injected in the ear base and from 90.5 per cent of those in the earlobe. At 20 and 30 months after injection, 10.4 per cent and 2.6 per cent of transponders, respectively, had ceased to signal. Thus, most transponders in the calves' ear base demonstrated functionality for up to 30 months.
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Provenance not commissioned; externally peer reviewed
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